Jarad Anthony Higgins (December 2, 1998 – December 8, 2019), known professionally as Juice Wrld (pronounced "juice world"; stylized as Juice WRLD), was an American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. His song "Lucid Dreams" has been played on music streaming platform Spotify over one billion times. "Lucid Dreams", along with his earlier hit single "All Girls Are the Same", helped him to secure a recording contract with Lil Bibby's Grade A Productions and Interscope Records.
Jarad Anthony Higgins was born on December 2, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in the South Suburbs spending his childhood in Calumet Park and later moved to Homewood, where he attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School. His parents divorced when he was three years old, and his father left, leaving his mother to raise him as a single mother along with one older brother. Higgins' mother was very religious and conservative, and did not let him listen to hip hop. He was allowed to listen to rock and pop music, however, and he found this on video games such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Guitar Hero, which introduced him to artists like Billy Idol, Blink-182, Black Sabbath, Fall Out Boy, Megadeth and Panic! at the Disco.
Higgins was a heavy drug user during his childhood and teens. He began drinking lean in sixth grade and using percocets and xanax in 2013. Higgins also smoked cigarettes briefly before quitting in his last year of high school because of health issues.
Higgins began to develop as an artist in his first year of high school. His first track, "Forever", was released on SoundCloud in 2015 under the name JuicetheKidd. Higgins recorded most of his first tracks on a cellphone, uploading them to SoundCloud in his sophomore year. He changed his name from JuicetheKidd, a name inspired by his affection for rapper Tupac Shakur and his part in the film Juice, to Juice Wrld because it "represents taking over the world".
His first track produced by his main producer Nick Mira, "Too Much Cash", was released in 2017. While releasing projects and songs on SoundCloud, Higgins worked in a factory but was dissatisfied with the job; he was fired within two weeks. After joining the internet collective Internet Money, Higgins released his debut full-length EP, 9 9 9, on June 15, 2017, with the song "Lucid Dreams" breaking out and growing his following.
On May 4, 2018, "Lucid Dreams" was released officially as a single and given a video. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and quickly became one of the most streamed songs of 2018; it remains his most-streamed song, reaching over one billion streams on Spotify by January 2020. "Lucid Dreams" was followed by "Lean Wit Me" on May 22, which peaked at number 68 on the Hot 100; Higgins' debut full-length Goodbye & Good Riddance, which included his three previous singles, was released the following day. On June 19, 2018, he released a two-song EP, Too Soon.. in remembrance of, and dedicated to, deceased rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. Lil Peep died of an overdose in 2017 and XXXTentacion was shot and killed during a robbery attempt a day earlier. The song "Legends" from the EP debuted at number 65.
In December 2017, Higgins released the three-song EP Nothings Different. Many hip-hop blogs such as Lyrical Lemonade featured it, which helped Higgins's track "All Girls Are the Same" gain popularity. In February 2018, a music video directed by Cole Bennett was released. Following the video's release, Interscope Records signed Higgins for $3 million and a remix featuring Lil Yachty was previewed. "All Girls Are the Same" was critically praised, receiving a Best New Music designation from Pitchfork. It was released as a single in April. "All Girls Are the Same" and "Lucid Dreams" were Higgins's first entries on a Billboard chart, debuting at number 92 and 74 respectively on the Hot 100 chart.
Higgins said his musical influences were genre-wide from rock to rap music, and that his biggest influences were rappers Travis Scott, Chief Keef, Kanye West and British rock singer Billy Idol. Higgins was among the ranks of openly vulnerable artists born from the emo rap scene inspired by West's influential fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak (2008). Billboard writer Michael Saponara claimed, "If West and his sparse 808s were a tree, it would have grown another branch with the blossoming art displayed by fellow Chicago native Juice WRLD in 2018." During an interview with All Def Music, Higgins said, "I was singing 'Street Lights' like I had shit to be sad about. Kanye is a time traveler. That nigga went to damn near 2015 and came back with some sauce." His other influences included: Wu-Tang Clan, Quietdrive, Fall Out Boy, Black Sabbath, The Starting Line, The Cranberries, The City Drive, 2Pac, Eminem, Kid Cudi and Escape the Fate.
Higgins' music has been branded as "emo" and "rock" leaning, "genre-bending" with music focusing on "every broken heart, every wounded feeling". More specifically, he has been labeled as a hip hop, trap, emo rap, and SoundCloud rap artist. With a penchant for short, hook-heavy songs, Higgins seemed a leading figure for the current era of hip-hop. In 2018, the streaming platform Spotify named "emo rap" its fastest growing genre. Higgins achieved arguably the most mainstream success of any artist in the sub-genre. This was boosted by his collaboration with Panic! At the Disco frontman Brendon Urie. Higgins himself considered the emo label to be both negative and positive. He felt that music sometimes has to be a bit dark to reflect his belief that the world is not really a light or a happy place.
Rapper Ski Mask the Slump God, his close friend who had collaborated with Higgins on the hit song "Nuketown", said on Twitter "They keep taking my brothers from me", referring also to best friend and longtime collaborator XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed in June 2018. Lil Yachty, who remixed Higgins' song "All Girls Are the Same" mourned his death along with Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, The Weeknd and others.
He was living in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Ally Lotti, at the time of his death. The pair revealed that they were dating via Instagram in November 2018.
In December 2018, Ski Mask the Slump God confirmed that he would release a joint mixtape with Higgins called Evil Twins in 2019. The pair also announced a 2019 tour featuring 30 concerts across North America. Higgins' second studio album, Death Race for Love, was released on March 8, 2019, preceded by the singles "Robbery" and "Hear Me Calling". The album topped the Billboard 200 chart. He then embarked on The Nicki Wrld Tour, alongside Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj. Higgins released the music video for the song "Fast" from the album. Later that year, he released other singles: "All Night" with RM and Suga of BTS; "Hate Me" with Ellie Goulding; "Run"; "Graduation" with Benny Blanco; and "Bandit" with NBA YoungBoy, the last song to be released while he was alive. It peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Travis Scott's song "No Bystanders", from his third studio album, Astroworld, featured Higgins and Sheck Wes. The song peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. Higgins made his late night television debut performing the song "Lucid Dreams" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on August 8, 2018. On October 15, 2018, the music video for the song "Armed and Dangerous" was released followed by the lead single, "Fine China", from the collaborative mixtape, Wrld on Drugs with Future. Epic Records released the mixtape on October 19, 2018. He also contributed to the soundtrack for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in December 2018, with a song titled "Hide" featuring American singer Seezyn.
In his song, "Legends"—which was dedicated to XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed in mid-2018 at age 20, and Lil Peep, who overdosed in late 2017 at age 21—Higgins raps "What's the 27 Club? / We ain't making it past 21." Fans and media outlets commented that he had predicted his own death, as he had died only days after his 21st birthday. He also died exactly 39 years after Beatles singer John Lennon, whom Higgins often mentioned in songs.